A VW as sexy as lederhosen

 

Price £23,315
Maximum speed 144mph, 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds
Combined fuel economy 33.6mpg
Further information 0800 333 666

We've swooned over the new Golf's multi-link suspension and been slightly repulsed by its fatty sibling, the Golf Plus, but, so far, there's been no sign of that great Sloaney chariot, the "strawberry basket" convertible Golf.

Well, here it is. Kind of. The new VW Eos - named after the Greek god of headscarves - is actually half Golf, half Passat. And here's my first problem. Making a convertible Passat is like making Angela Merkel wear a thong. Passats are fine and worthy. They are also as durable as lederhosen, but unfortunately they have a similar sexual allure. A convertible should set your nethers a-quiver, but a Passat really isn't going to pump anyone's lilo.

The other problem is that if you own an Eos you will feel obliged to drop its magnificently complex folding roof at every glimpse of sun, and, frankly, if God had meant us to drive around at high speed with our faces open to the elements, he would have given us fla...

Hello, this is Michael's wife. I've managed to lure Michael away from the computer for a few moments by telling him there was something on the news about a terrible accident involving some farm machinery and Jeremy Clarkson (never seen him move so fast). I happened to read over his shoulder that he was about to launch into his anti-convertible rant yet again. You've probably only read this a few times, but Michael insists on reading his articles aloud to the family after dinner every day - with a quiz afterwards - and I must have heard him moaning about the "blackened bogies" and "frizzy hair" a dozen times. I've had enough.

I can tell you that the Volkswagen was really, really great. It looks much nicer than those French folding hard top cars and it's cheaper than the Volvo C70. I do like the look of the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop, but Michael is an awful snob so he would never allow that near the house. Like most journalists he's obsessed with "chavs" and terrified of being labelled as one, but the Eos isn't the least bit chavvy. It has this spectacular folding hard top roof which is great for security, and it also has a huge sunroof built into the folding roof, so you can adjust your exposure to match the weather - or, in Michael's case, closely monitor the affects of the sun on your slaphead. I loved the size of the boot, which was huge for this kind of car, and the kids had plenty of room in the back. Unlike Michael I don't go all giggly around high-powered sports cars (I once saw him lick a Ferrari, but I've never mentioned it to anyone in case they got the wrong idea - and he is harmless, essentially), but that doesn't mean I don't like to welly it from time to time. This was the turbo version so there was plenty of power. Forget what Michael says about it being "as sexy as lederhosen", he's had a thing about lederhosen ever since his mum made him wear them as a child, and driving with the roof down is really lovely. I thought the Eos was definitely a sexy car and really nicely proportioned.

Michael's coming back up the stairs now, so I'd better go, but remember, as far as convertibles go, he hasn't the faintest clue what he's talking about.

Anyway, it looks like I've run out of space so I'd better end there. (Is it me, or is this page getting smaller by the week?) In summary then: I was very impressed by the Eos. Just make sure you keep the roof up.

It's a classic: VW Kübelwagen

Volkswagen doesn't seem overly keen to highlight the success of its earliest convertible in the press information accompanying the Eos. That's probably because the car in question was created at the behest of Hitler as a rival to the US military's Jeep. The result was the Volkswagen Kübelwagen, designed by Ferdinand Porsche and based, to a large extent, on his nascent Beetle.

Despite its lack of four-wheel drive (like the Beetle, the Kübelwagen was rear engined and rear-wheel drive), the Kübelwagen was an extremely effective off-roader. When the US military finally captured one, they judged it to be superior in virtually every regard to their own four-by-four, due to its light weight, skinny wheels and impressive robustness. Even a later VW four-wheel drive prototype was considered inferior and never made.

Production of the original Kübelwagen stopped for a while after the war, but VW eventually made 55,000, many of which can still be seen in action at the more dubious "re-enactment" weekends.

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